I had a day of little pressure to get anywhere after my first full rest day yesterday. Thick cloud cover prevailed after last evening’s showers.

I must admit I often have experienced good timing with weather conditions, other than the first week or so in Kaikoura this summer.

Not quite summer today.

Eventually, I made it up to the Homestead campsite, the start of my trip up the Manuherikia River West Branch to Boundary Creek Hut, and Top Hut the following day.

These were the last two huts in Oteake Conservation Park I had yet to visit. I was in the smaller western section of the park on a four-wheel drive track that led up to Omarama Saddle, and on to Omarama. On this occasion, I would be restraining myself to just the 8 km up to the hut, with the next day up to the Top Hut, then back, and probably back out to the campsite.

It was reasonably flat, climbing from around 750 m to only 800 m, with the next day up to 990 m.

I thought I’d preserve my near-dry boot condition, climbing above a bluff to avoid two river crossings, just on ankle deep, then later came to the conclusion that there would be a few crossings the next day, so there was little point. I needed to cross the river twice anyway, so my boots became damp, but not sodden.

These are the things that might occupy your mind on a less than a 2½ hour walk.

My pack had my tent, etc, and full supplies for at least two nights, so not much lighter than when I returned to the car a couple of days before.

Hut? Empty, and while the interior has been lined and renovated, it was somewhat soulless.

I could cope. At least it didn’t have a dirt floor or dampness.

I thought I might sensibly have an early night to allow an early start.

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